- Ephesians 2
Ephesians 1:3-2:12-The blessings of God given to believers (continued) Ephesians 2:1-10-The life of God that comes from His love
Ephesians 2:1-3-Paul says that when we were without God, we "were dead in your transgressions and sins"..."followed the ways of this world"...and "lived among them"..."gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following it desires and thoughts".
Ephesians 2:4-7-But "because of His great love for us"..."God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ"..."raised us up with Christ"..."seated us (reserved our seat, our place) with him in the heavenly realms, in Christ Jesus"...so that "in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus".
What an incredible difference God’s love has made in us!
Ephesians 2:8-9-God saves us by His grace (:5) when we respond in faith to Him...not by anything that we have done, our own works. Our salvation is a gift from Him.
Question: "What is the grace of God?"
Answer: Grace is a constant theme in the Bible, and it culminates in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus (John 1:17). The word translated "grace" in the New Testament comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favor, blessing, or kindness.” We can all extend grace to others; but when the word grace is used in connection with God, it takes on a more powerful meaning. Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sin deserves. It is His benevolence to the undeserving.
Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves." The only way any of us can enter into a relationship with God is because of His grace toward us. Grace began in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal to cover the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). He could have killed the first humans right then for their disobedience. But rather than destroy them, He chose to make a way for them to be right with Him. That pattern of grace continued throughout the Old Testament when God instituted blood sacrifices as a means to atone for sinful men. It was not the blood of those sacrifices that cleansed sinners; it was the grace of God that forgave those who trusted in Him (Hebrews 10:4; Genesis 15:6).
The apostle Paul began many of his letters with the phrase, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:3). God is the instigator of grace, and it is from Him that all other grace flows.
God shows both mercy and grace, but they are not the same. Mercy withholds a punishment we deserve; grace gives a blessing we don't deserve. In mercy, God chose to cancel our sin debt by sacrificing His perfect Son in our place (Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But He goes even further than mercy and extends grace to His enemies (Romans 5:10). He offers us forgiveness (Hebrews 8:12; Ephesians 1:7), reconciliation (Colossians 1:19-20), abundant life (John 10:10), eternal treasure (Luke 12:33), His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and a place in heaven with Him some day (John 3:16-18) when we accept His offer and place our faith in His sacrifice.
Grace is God giving the greatest treasure to the least deserving— which is every one of us.
Ephesians 2:10-Our salvation is the work of God that results in our being created in Christ Jesus so that we can do the works that He has already prepared for us to do.
Ephesians 2:11-22-The unity of God that comes from His Spirit
Ephesians 2:11-18-Paul speaks directly to the Gentiles and reminds them that even though they were not born physically into the Jewish heritage, nor had they received the Jewish rite of circumcision (that physically identified them with the Jewish heritage)..."without hope and without God in the world"...because of the blood of Jesus they were now been brought near (into the covenant relationship of the promise). Jesus' blood (blood represented His perfect life) satisfied all the requirements of the covenant. He abolished (satisfied, completed) in His flesh (his physical body) "the law with its commandments and regulations". His purpose was to bring Jew and Gentile together in Himself and to present them together to God for reconciliation through His death on the cross (both saved through one means, Himself). Peace for Jew and Gentile, alike. Both having the same access to the Father by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22-The result for Gentiles is that they are now:
- 1 citizens of God's kingdom...no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow
citizens with God's people;
- 2 members of God's household...built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone;
- 3 temple for God's worship...a holy temple in the Lord;
- 4 dwelling for God's Spirit...a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your "great love" for me. That You saved me by an act of Your grace, Your divine favor. Please help me to be "alive in Christ", full of His life. Please help me to not allow sin to keep me under its oppressive power...but to be "raised up with Christ." Please help me to always be aware that I have a place reserved for me in Heaven. And please help me to be an example of the work of Your glorious grace. Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your life to make my life possible!